The metric system

For some reason, it just struck me that not only is the U.S. not using the metric system now, we’ve not even talking about converting any more. Well, I’m sick of waiting. Is there anything I can do to get the ball rolling again? If we could identify some milestones that would represent progress before the full scale conversion, maybe it would be easier to make the transition.

Start using the metric system in your work. Ask all your friends to start using it, tell them to tell their friends and so on…and eventually they’ll have to convert it.

But here is another one. Why do the Brittish still drive on left side of the road? I know there’s a left wing government, but comon.



Living in Europe, I can only say that I prefer metric, but then again, I was born into it.

I’m reading rainbow Six by Clancy right now, and notice that he uses metric. Maybe his own contribution in tune with the above post.

I think you just gotta get down and do it and don’t listen to people bitching.

And about driving on the left. A large part of the world does it, not only UK. Japan, most of Asia, Australia…


I grew up with the English system, but I still love the metric system. I wish we’d go the whole way and convert. It seems that we already use both in a mixture, with the blaring exceptions of marking all distances in miles, and speaking of temperatures in Fahrenheit.

As if the english system isn’t bad enough, we have to mix it up with the decimal system.
Sometimes at work I need to cut a hole ia a panel to mount an instrument. The specs. will call for a dimension of 8.1342 x 4.3456, or some crap like that.
Pisses me off! :slight_smile:

“If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything” Mark Twain 1894

Change sports to metric, and I’ll convert. I’m sure many will too.

¾È ³ç, ÁÖ µ¿ ÀÏ

Not sure about this, but could it be that the U.S. military uses metric?


Actually, all maufacturers in the US are metric by now, such as cars etc. It must be the ISO certification. It’s the consumer end that hasn’t changed.

Here are two such milestones. Good luck figuring out their significance. —

2 liter soda bottles
3 1/2 inch diskettes

Ummm… which industry was the high-tech one?

Hey, that’s a good point. What do they call 3 1/2 inch disks in other countries? I have it on some authority that in England they’re called “stiffies”. Obviously that’s not going to catch on here.

sunbear said:

I’m not sure about other industries, but the U.S. aerospace industry, where I worked until 2 months ago, still uses the English (IPS) system of units. Mil-Handbook-5 (Metallic Materials and Elements for Aerospace Vehicle Structures) lists material properties in English units. The only time I had to deal with the metric system was when we had a foreign customer, e.g. Rolls-Royce.

I’m in the semiconductor industry now as a mechanical engineer and our units are all over the place, so to speak. Part of it is due to the fact that we’re working with a European company to learn their technology. Regardless, a common, albeit mutated, way to express force/deflection here is in grams-force/mil, where 1 mil = 0.001". The design/analysis software that I currently use allows you to express units any way you want, which is very convenient given the circumstances. You just gotta be careful.

One strange thing - most of the material properties tables that I come across, with the exception of Mil-Handbook-5, express thermal conductivity in SI units (W/m-K), even when the other properties in the table are given in English units!

Let’s see, if we start to refer to 3 1/2 disks as “stiffies,” then the computer industry will be the only place where a “floppy” is larger than a “stiffy!”

“I wept because I had no shoes, then I met a man with no feet. So I took his shoes” - Dave Barry

Forgot to add, ISO 9000 or 9001 certification has nothing to do with using the metric systems. The company I worked for was both ISO 9000 and ISO 9001 certified.

I’m glad to see that the general concensus here is that the metric system is easier to use - I grew up listening to my mother whine about it, waxing nostalgic for measurements like “stones” etc.

In Canada, we call 3.5 inch disks…3.5 inch disks. I kinda like “stiffies” though.

As far as driving on the wrong side of the road goes, I’ve always thought that the British got it right. Back in the good old days of horses & carriages, one drove on the left so one could shoot at/wave sword at oncoming enemies/traffic with the right arm. I really don’t know why it’s different elsewhere. It makes more sense for the driver to be able to do stuff outside of the car with his or her right hand (modern day equivalent to hand-to-hand combat might be a drive-through bank machine).

Why, 3.5 inch diskettes of course. Because they meassure 3.5". That’s 8.89 cms. And they meassure that, cause they’re American and the comp.industry is just about the only where we have the same standards across the Atlantic.
Now had the diskette been an invention from Europe, it would’ve been 9 cms or mebbe 10.

Many Americans think that we’re totally stupid here: “Oh I could never get used to metric, why would you make a diskette 8.89 cms?” Duh! It’s the conversion that comes out to 8.89. We make and meassure things in even numbers.


Write your congressmen, governor, favorite presidential candidate, whatever. At the very least, suggest a dual mile/kilometer system on public highways. The metric system will only get going in this country when the powers that be feel there is a public desire for it.

If you drive around Louisville, KY, they have the duel mile/km road signs.

Just me however, I’ve grown to using the mixed system. Centemeters and meters for measuring length, Feet and inches for height, liters and pints (versus gallons and milliliters). And driving in miles.

But I absolutely hate the Celsius temperature scale!

But that’s my idiosyncracy!

I have no feel for Fahrenheit degrees below freezing even though I’ve heard weather repots for decades. The Zero=freezing just makes more sense. The 30-90 degrees F part I do have a feel for. Outside the window I have a dual thermometer.

I live in Canada and we went metric several years ago but they still give the temperatures in both C and F ?
But one thing I always wondered when I visit the USA, if you guys are not metric why do they sell the 1 litre bottle of soft drinks ?

When you cross the border into Canada if your driving don’t think that our gasoline is so much cheaper at .56 cents.

Thats in litres which makes it almost 2 times as much a gallon.

I don’t off hand know how Farenheit got zero degrees (it’s a Straight Dope topic somewhere), but I don’t feel that 30 degrees is enough difference between cold and hot.
The liter bottle just became succssful. AS did the 20 oz. But getting the metric system back up in this country will be a uphill battle. Apathy to change and the fact we are a powerful country.